Quick takes, mostly warm

Monday 17 April 2023

Seán Clancy: Ireland England. It’s been ages since I’ve listened to any 70s German synth-rock, so listening to this reminded me of hearing analogue synth space-grooves for the first time. A free-flying piece that maintains focus even as pulsating arpeggios and airy drones fade in and out for longer than most Krautrockers could manage, anchored by a seriousness of intent. This is a single take recorded drecitly to a handheld device, also on video with text projections for the piece’s insipration.

Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo: ELP. Listened to this blind and thought it was some wide-ranging noise improv by a bunch of precocious adolescents with a lot of energy, complete with a quaint sample to kickstart the whole shebang. Turns out Palumbo has a long and distinguished CV and this is a solo affair made as part of a project relating choreographed movement to sound. I’m glad that sophistication doesn’t come through, lest it dull down the flawed but lively tangle heard here, but disappointed the title isn’t a reference to Tarkus.

Henning Christiansen: Op. 1984 (160C) Goodday Mr. Orwell, Green-Ear-Year. Having been overwhelmed by the five-hour montage of Op. 176 Penthesilea I did not expect this. Christiansen and his local guitar hero son play a gig together and holy shit invent the Boredoms a year early, right there on stage. The punters are not pleased; neither is the tortured ghost of B.A. Zimmermann when they summon his presence.

Ed Williams: Decomposition Study. Two organists (Christoph Schiller and Anna-Kaisa Meklin) play counterpoint on an organ of 16th Century design, tuned in sixth-tones. Microtonality nerds hoping to geek out to nuances of intonation will find themselves frustrated as Williams adds another compositional premise, with himself and three other assistants – well, obstructionists, really – systematically messing with the wind supply; basically like a John Cage organ piece only somebody hired Stan Freberg, Mark E. Smith and Eric Morecambe to man the pipes. Timbre, tone and dynamics break up in non-intuitive ways that seemed understated on first listen, overstated on the second.